Art of the State. This juried effort at the Arvada Center has been attracting crowds, to say the least. The two-person jury comprised Collin Parson, Arvada's exhibition manager and curator, and Dean Sobel, who, as director of the Clyfford Still Museum, is an art-world celebrity. Because of the curators' stature, the call for entries resulted in a huge volume of responses, and Parson and Sobel looked at more than 1,600 images by nearly 600 entrants. The final tally was 191 works by 160 artists. Since Sobel is an internationally renowned expert in abstract expressionism, many submissions fall into some abstract category like neo-modern (which dominates) and conceptual abstraction. Paintings rule, but there are nice sculptures, too. In addition to abstractions, there are representational variations, especially in the realm of conceptual art. Though it's not installed this way, there's essentially a photo show hidden within Art of the State, and also one dedicated to ceramics. Focusing on Colorado art has clearly been a winning strategy for the Arvada Center. Through March 31 at the Arvada Center, 6901 Wadsworth Boulevard, Arvada, 720-898-7200, www.arvadacenter.org. Reviewed February 28.
Charles Partridge Adams. Rocky Mountain Majesty: The Paintings of Charles Partridge Adams highlights the career of a prominent turn-of-the-nineteenth-century impressionist who lived and worked in Colorado for decades. Adams first came to Colorado in 1876, when he was only eighteen years old. He was self-taught, but worked informally in Denver with Helen Henderson Chain, who in turn had studied with George Inness. By the 1890s, like many other landscape painters of the time, Adams embraced impressionism, with his signature style becoming increasingly more expressive into the 1910s. Adams was part of a generation of landscape painters who were grounded in Hudson River School aesthetics. But like other American impressionists, he blended this classic sensibility with the painterly devices being revealed at the time in France. In 1917, Partridge retired to California. Thomas Smith, the DAM's Curator of Western American Art, has chosen three dozen examples of the artist's best work. Through September 8 at the Denver Art Museum, 100 West 14th Avenue Parkway, 720-865-5000, www.denverartmuseum.org.
Colorado Art Survey VIII. Every year, Kirkland Museum director Hugh Grant organizes a show in which new acquisitions are combined with pieces already in the collection to illustrate the art history of the state. Grant lays out the somewhat sequential stylistic categories in roughly chronological order. The date range for this year's version is 1875 (a landscape by Hamilton Hamilton) to 2011 (a combine-painting by Emilio Lobato and a ceramic piece by Jeff Wenzel). In between are some remarkable things, notably a newly acquired 1920s Robert Reid painting of the Broadmoor Hotel as seen from the mountains. Reid, a nationally known impressionist, taught at the Broadmoor Academy at the time. Also notable is a '30s view of the Garden of the Gods by Ward Lockwood, another Broadmoor Academy teacher. This being the Kirkland, a good deal of the show is dedicated to modernism, including surrealism and various types of abstraction, with examples by Al Wynne, Ken Goehring, Mary Chenoweth, Charles Bunnell and others. Through April 21 at the Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Art, 1311 Pearl Street, 303-832-8576, www.kirklandmuseum.org.
The Denver Salon. Twenty years ago, Mark Sink put together the Denver Salon, which focused on cutting-edge photography being done around town. The group produced a hard-cover portfolio that included actual photographic prints, done in a darkroom and not on a digital printer. Z Art Department director Randy Roberts has built this exhibit around one of those treasured mementos, leaving it intact and displaying it on a easel. He has surrounded it with other works by Salon photographers, including a nice selection by the late Wes Kennedy, a few by David Zimmer and an individual piece by Reed Weimer (who isn't associated with photography, but was part of the Denver Salon anyway). Roberts has supplemented the Salon pieces with a dozen earlier works by visionary photographer Winter Prather, who should be world-famous — as these photos demonstrate — but whose mental illness in the years before his death drove away those who could have made that happen. This is one of two shows featuring Salon members; the other is ensconced at the Byers-Evans House. Through March 30 at Z Art Department, 1136 Speer Boulevard, 303-298-8432, www.zartdept.com.
Georgia O'Keeffe. Georgia O'Keeffe has been done to death — on greeting cards, calendars and posters. That's why it's easy to forget that in the first half of the twentieth century, she was one of America's most significant early modernists. And with her husband, Alfred Stieglitz, she crusaded for the then-new aesthetic. She visited New Mexico annually and finally settled there permanently in the 1940s, becoming one of our own, a Western artist. As is widely known, New Mexico sported a lively art scene at that time, and like so many of her fellow artists, O'Keeffe became enraptured with the American Indian and Hispanic cultures that flourished there. This exhibit, Georgia O'Keeffe in New Mexico: Architecture, Katsinam, and the Land, reflects the artist's love affair with the Land of Enchantment. The show comes from the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum, but for Denver it's been tweaked by Thomas Smith, the DAM's curator of Western American art, and by Native Arts associate curator John Lukavic. The two paired Native American artifacts with O'Keeffe's renditions of them. Through April 28 at the Denver Art Museum, 100 West 14th Avenue Parkway, 720-865-5000, www.denverartmuseum.org. Reviewed March 14.
Semblance and Guised. These exhibits are the Month of Photography entries from Metropolitan State University of Denver's Center for Visual Art. The first show, Semblance, was organized by Metro assistant professor Tomiko Jones, a fairly recent addition to the city's photo scene, together with CVA creative director Cecily Cullen. The pair chose enigmatic works about ceremony, process and the imagination, including pieces by, among others, Robert and Shana ParkeHarrison, Laura Shill and Janaina Tschäpe, with the clear pattern that connects them being a non-whimsical version of fantasy. The second show, Guised, is dedicated to video and was put together by Sama Alshaibi whose photos and videos are in the other show. Alshaibi, from Arizona, selected works by various artists, including Coriana Close, Gary Setzer and Larissa Sansour, with all of the pieces making their American debut in this show. Finally, there's a good-looking Metro student show with Chancey Bush, Blair Douglas, Kelsey Sailsbery, Evan Lee Miller, Holly Mills and Carolyn Nicholson. Through April 13 at the Metro State Center for Visual Art, 965 Santa Fe Drive, 303-294-5207, www.metrostatecva.org.
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